In the panel devoted to JJ Abrams' new spooky mytho-scientific show Fringe, Abrams revealed that there are already a lot of clues about the show floating around out there, but that he won't reveal what they are or where you can find them (those "non-humans banned" signs, leading to a mystery URL around Comic-Con aroused some audience members' suspicions). Yes, it's shades of Cloverfield, but that makes us weirdly happy. What also makes us happy is that Massive Dynamics, the evil/scary giant company in the show, is apparently modeled on IBM, which Abrams described as "a company that seems to own everything." You've got corporate conspiracies, publicity conspiracies, and even more awaiting you in the show that Abrams said was largely inspired by terrific 1970s flick Altered States.

Abrams once again reiterated that Fringe will have standalone episodes, and won't get mired in a crazy mythology that nobody can follow. He also says that he and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have a strong sense of where the story is going, and where it should end, though they don't have a set amount of time they plan to spin it out. Orci and Kurtzman have been involved in the show from the beginning, he said, and they are really co-creators. Apparently Orci is the big conspiracy nut of the bunch.

Earlier, in a press conference, Abrams confirmed that the show would be very dark. It's hard to imagine how you could go darker than Lost, but apparently we're in for that. Abrams likes to lurk in that middle area between mythology and science, so he can certainly veer into weird territory and he guarantees that it's going to get a lot weirder than that first episode which was leaked online. (He still denies that they wanted to leak it, and if that's true he and his fellow creators have been awfully nice to the fans about it — nobody's been sued for swapping it around.)


Of course people were clamoring for Star Trek news, and we got some. They're putting on the finishing touches, and Abrams told reporters that they would essentially have a finished movie by December, though the release isn't slated until May of 2009. He also revealed that he has become very "intimate" with issues around warp core breaches. Apparently we will see some major warp core action, which is always a good sign. As long as they don't have that glowy blue column thing from Next Generation.

Also, most importantly, there will be a Cloverfield 2 (as we've been reporting for a while), but it won't be a sequel. It will be something "surprising," said Abrams. Tomorrow, we'll share with you what Abrams told us on video about what the most important monster feature is, from the perspective of a guy who has created a lot of monsters.

Hat tip to the Futon Critic's awesome liveblog of the event.